Consulates and honorary consulates have existed in Louisiana since the late 1700's and the days of French and Spanish colonial rule.

History

Almost immediately upon the United States’ acquisition of the Louisiana territory in 1803, France opened a Consulate in New Orleans, followed soon thereafter by The Netherlands. Great Britain followed suit soon thereafter.  Louisiana’s importance as a Gateway for trade between the United States and Canada and Central and South America was evidenced by the Republic of Mexico, as demonstrated with the opening of its first Consulate in the US immediately after its declared independence in 1829.

The Consular Corps Today

The Consular Corps Today

Today there are 50 plus career and honorary consulates in Louisiana serving countries on five continents. Notably, in recent years, several countries in Africa have opted for the first time ever to open consulates in Louisiana. Some of these include Mali, Tanzania, and South Africa. While for many years through the 1800’s and into the1970’s, New Orleans was globally recognized as a most important international consular corps seat that hosted a large number of career or full-time Consuls and Consuls General due to its vital and active port location and as a maritime commerce center within the United States.

With the advent of modernization through containerization, as well as other technological advances and the advent of the internet age; New Orleans, like many other major cities of the world, has seen a decline in the number of career postings and an increase in honorary or non-career consuls.

Our Roles and Responsibilities

The Louisiana Consular Corps works closely with leading state, federal, regional and local economic development organizations and government agencies to identify and foster trade and commercial opportunities and the exchange of goods and services between nations represented by the Consuls themselves and the city, state and region.  Among our closest partners are the World Trade Center of New Orleans, (the world’s first World Trade Center organization), the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, and the Mayor’s Office of the City of New Orleans.  Numerous other regional economic development and trade organizations are also of great assistance to the Corps.

Specific responsibilities of Consuls vary from country to country but generally include:

  • Assistance with trade and commercial opportunities or obstacles
  • Assistance with passport or visa issues
  • Providing information for tourists to and from their home country
  • Fostering cultural and educational exchange
  • Representing their home countries at a wide variety of civic, economic, cultural and governmental events and occasions

Consuls, Consulates, Ambassadors and Embassies

What is a Consul?
A consul is a representative of one nation stationed in a consulate of a specific city or region located in another nation that acts as a host country for that particular consulate.  The consul’s primary duties are to assist the citizens of the consul’s nation while those citizens are in the host country.  In addition, the consul promotes trade and good relations between the consul’s nation and the host country.

What is a Consul General?
A Consul General is a full-time career diplomat appointed by their own nation’s government and whose jurisdiction is greater than a single city and encompasses a larger region.  Under many countries’ rankings of diplomatic staff, a consul will report to a consul general, who will in turn report to the ambassador in the capital city of the host country.

What is an Honorary Consul?
An honorary consul is a consul who is not a full-time professional diplomat and offers their services to a specific country on a voluntary and part-time basis.  The honorary consul could be a citizen of the represented country, a dual citizen of both countries, or a citizen of the host country with connections and ties to the country that they represent.

What is the difference between an Ambassador and a Consul?
An Ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat in the host country.  He or she is assigned to that nation’s embassy, which is located in the host country’s capital.  All consuls of the nation located in the host country report to the Ambassador.

How does one address a consul?
Only foreign ambassadors are addressed as “Your Excellency.” (H.E.)  U.S. ambassadors are generally referred to as “The Honorable….”   Consuls and Consuls General are simply addressed as Honorary Consul or (Hon.)  and whatever personal honorific title to which they are entitled.  (e.g.  Mr., Mrs. Ms., or Dr., etc.,)  http://www.formsofaddress.info/Consul.html. Sometimes, however, consuls and honorary consuls are addressed as “The Honorable.”

How do you pronounce the word “consul?” 
Is it pronounced “kounsul” / 
kaan·sl

The proper pronunciation is the one that rhymes with “tonsil.”  There is a diplomatic rank called a “counselor” as in “political counselor,” but this is different from a consul.

Are consuls addressed as “consulates”?
No, the “Consulate” is the office or building where the Consul works.  Where the consul lives is called the “Residence.”

Does a consul have diplomatic immunity for any crimes that a consul may commit?
No.  The Vienna Convention On Consular Relations of 1963 sets forth the limits of diplomatic immunity for consuls and honorary consuls.  http://legal.un.org/avl/ha/vccr/vccr.html.  While a consul may have full diplomatic immunity, an honorary consul has limited diplomatic immunity only for his or her official acts performed in the capacity as consul.

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